@DaleJr. may be most well known as NASCAR’s most popular driver, but the 40-year-old has another skill to add to his extensive racing resume, that of master builder.
Earnhardt Jr.’s latest home improvement project, inspired by the television show ‘Treehouse Masters’ on Animal Planet, is to build a functioning treehouse on his North Carolina property.
“Watching that TV show, I thought that was really cool,” he said Tuesday. “I wanted to build a tree house years and years ago. So, I finally got down to where after watching that show, I thought, man, I’ve got to do it. And wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t do it.”
Earnhardt Jr. discussed his new building project during media availability after losing to @JoeyLogano in a celebrity softball game pitting teams from Dover International Speedway (otherwise known as the Monster Mile) and Pocono Raceway at the Trenton Thunder baseball stadium.
Earnhardt Jr. advised the process of not only deciding on his new build but moving forward with the plans was not only easy but fairly cost effective as well.
“I bought the plans off his website for one hundred bucks,” he said. “It shows you how to build the hardware.”
The driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 race car also involved his XFINITY Series race team in his building project, admitting that he needed a few more helping hands.
“So, I got the race team to do all the hardware,” said Earnhardt Jr. “They build a lot of stuff for me besides race cars. That’s one perk, the only perk, to owning a race team. You can get them to build all kinds of crazy stuff.
“The rest of the time, they are just spending all your money.”
So, will NASCAR’s most popular driver be living in his new treehouse?
“I’m not going to live in it,” he said. “Just drink beer in it. I might have to sleep in it a few nights. It’s somewhere to hang out and unwind a little bit. It’s just something for fun.”
And with a laugh and a small aside, Earnhardt Jr. said he may even use it if he is in the doghouse after a disagreement with girlfriend Amy Reimann.
Earnhardt Jr. advised that the treehouse project is close to completion, but as with every new build there have been some delays in his project timeline.
“The start to finish time is probably eight months,” he stated. “The timing was kind of rough because of the winter and the weather and all that. It’s real close and we’ve been working on it a long time. I look forward to getting it finished.”
Earnhardt Jr. is certainly no stranger to building projects. In fact, prior to the treehouse initiative, he built an entire Old West town called Whiskey River on his property in North Carolina. The racecar driver was in fact inspired to do that project by Willie Nelson, who also built out a similar old time town on his own property.
“I thought it was a great idea, and I’m really into the Westerns,” Earnhardt said. “I’m into the Spaghetti Westerns and all the stuff (Clint) Eastwood did in the ’70s and ’60s. It seems like a fun, mysterious time.”
For the western town, however, Earnhardt Jr. had to draw up the plans himself, starting with the Silverado Saloon and then adding a hotel, a jail, post office, pharmacy, bank general store, church and barber shop.
He kept his town build authentic, recycling wood from a local mill. He also took great pains to ensure that all details were attended to, from a barber’s chair in the shop to medicine bottles in the pharmacy.
His favorite building, interestingly enough is not the bar but the jail, which he deemed “completely realistic.”
“We’ve had a lot of fun down here,” Earnhardt said. “We’ve had a lot of good times in this place. It means a lot for me to be able to show it off to people.”
There is no doubt that Earnhardt Jr. will be equally proud of his treehouse master building project on completion, just as he is with his western town. And he even may have some visitors who want to stay over, including up and coming driver Darrell @BubbaWallace, who played on Dale Junior’s Pocono softball team.
“My lease is up in September so will it be ready by then?” asked.
Earnhardt’s reply was “Sure, we got a lot of places. Come on down.”
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